Short Story – Discovering Sex Through Crossword Puzzles

I have decided to share a short story from my life every week so that my readers and friends would get to know me better and get some insight on how I grew up. Maybe I should do a Videoblog, but I am camera shy.

This is from Nehru Memorial Primary School in Suva, Fiji and the year is 1995. I was in class 6, bored and doing some crossword puzzles on the back of some magazines that I had brought to school. Now, it was ‘Woman’s Day’ and may have had some provocative pictures but I was completely clueless as to what provocative meant. I was a square: went to school, came home, did homework, went to school, always came 1st in class, came back home.

My ignorant and perverted peers saw ‘Woman’s Day’ and reported me to the principle who called my father and made an example out of ‘a girl who brings dirty magazines to schools.’ Ms. Nair and Ms. Narayan gave me a thorough lecture about how they were appalled that someone with my level of intelligence and good character, could possibly bring ‘porn’ to school? (Now I understand that these women have probably never seen Playboy).

I was confused–‘What, I like doing these puzzles? Why do I care about the rest of the content that adults read?’ Was it that strange to believe that someone with my level of intelligence would rifle through women’s magazines for crossword puzzles? Dad was thoroughly embarrassed but to his credit, he knew I was interested in puzzles and not the least bit into the blonde, leggy, white woman on the cover (I wish he could have retained that common sense for 6 years later). He went back to school the next day and clarified the matter. I got an apology from the principle but never a clarification. And due to that one incident, I was completely overlooked for any leadership positions in grade 7 and 8. Usually these went to the smartest people in class–I was probably the only square to miss out on these so-called ‘honors.’ In hindsight, it doesn’t matter.

Thanks to that incident, I finally started becoming aware of women in a new light. I started thinking of women’s bodies as sexual beings. Talk about creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Perversion and sexual awareness does not happen in a vacuum. It is behavior that is sometimes encouraged by our peers and often sanctioned by the state and society.

P.S. I haven’t done a crossword puzzle or picked up a copy of Woman’s Day since then. I hope Ms. Narayan and Ms. Nair burn in hell.

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